• Connor Watson

What the Matt Rhule Deal Tells Us About The Future of Coaching

On Tuesday the Carolina Panthers announced Baylor’s Matt Rhule as their new head coach.

The seven-year deal is reportedly worth $60million with some sources claiming that once incentives are included, it could be worth up to $70million.

Rhule was previously a favourite for the coaching vacancy at the Giants and was scheduled to meet with the team on Tuesday.

What’s interesting about the Rhule deal will be the precedent this sets for future coaching hires, Panthers’ owner David Tepper has already disrupted the football scene since his purchase of the franchise in 2018 but this goes even further.

With an interest in rebuilding the Panthers from the ground up, the Matt Rhule deal not only signals Tepper’s willingness to develop the team, essentially writing Rhule a blank check, but also an acknowledgement that coaches need time to work things out.

Seven years is an eternity in football time but what this deal does is bring to light how unrealistic the time frame is for some coaches.

Now, this deal should serve as a signal for teams like the Cleveland Browns, who seem to have a chronic fascination with firing coaches early, that coaching takes time. Barring actual scandal or personnel issues coaches need time to develop a team, a culture, a game plan and execute that across a season, some multiple seasons.

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Rhule comes from two very successful college franchises where he had time to build and work on his team. During his first season at Temple the team went 2-10, the same happened at Baylor, during his first season as head coach the college team went 1-11, the next year, they ran a successful 11-1 campaign.

While many may be reluctant to accept Rhule and Tepper straight away, hopefully, this deal sets a precedent for future coaching hires. Unfortunately, the Rhule deal comes late in this years game of musical chairs, most teams have made their head coaching choices and we’re unlikely to see many more if any. However, next year we will most certainly see changes in the head coach role. Rhule has a lot to prove anyway, coming from a college background there will be many setting him up for failure.

A sad note for Carolina fans is that this first season is going to be rough but you have to see past the mistakes in those first games and look at what lies beyond. A franchise that can make the Super Bowl again, a cohesive team ready to work, a head coach dedicated to process and good old fashioned football and an owner with deep pockets and a deep interest in the team, the city and the results.

I hope we see some success, not only because I want to see decent football but I’d like an acknowledgement from owners, GMs and teams that a franchise can’t be built overnight. You need to look beyond the short term success of making the playoffs or the Super Bowl and look at how your team can develop across two-three years. Those years are important, why be a one-hit-wonder when you could develop a football dynasty?